The English Beat and Reel Big Fish, who are touring together this summer, come from different eras of the ska-punk divide. But the Beat's Dave Wakeling considers that more of a plus than a minus.
"Our crowds are somewhat similar but somewhat different," says Wakeling, 53, who fronted the English Beat from 1978-83 and reactivated the group four years go from his current home in California. "I have an older set of audience, they have a younger set, so we both get the opportunity to play to people who'd probably like our bands but have never seen us live.
"When someone comes backstage and has seen the band for 25 years and tells us now that it's the best show they've seen us do, that's a lovely feeling. But almost as exciting is when some drunk guy staggers backstage and says, 'I've never heard of you guys, but you're great!"
Wakeling will have some fresh English Beat material to play this time out. He has "a ton of songs" he started recording last month and plans to return to the studio in September, but Wakeling isn't sure how he'll release them yet.
"I don't know if it's an album; I'm leaning towards the idea of some kind of EP at the moment," Wakeling says. "It seems to me that now songs are being used in a more creative way. A lot of people are giving them away to the fans who keep showing up at their concerts. So rather than busting my brains over it, I figure I'll just record songs...and then look into some creative ideas for ways to bring them out."
The English Beat performs with Reel Big Fish and the Supervillians Friday (July 3) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.